One week ago I realized something. I defeated my narcissistic ex boyfriend. While this wasn’t what I set out to do, I still accomplished it by standing up for myself in a world that doesn’t want to hear it or deal with it. A world that’s not understanding to victims/survivors of domestic violence and/or narcissistic abuse.
Before I get into details, I want to put a disclaimer out there: I’m still in love with my ex boyfriend. I know he did terrible things to me. I’m still trying to comprehend narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and the abuse I endured. So defeating him doesn’t feel like a win to me. It doesn’t even feel empowering. But, I know this story may help others in my situation, so I want to share it. I also want to look back at this post one day and say, “I was strong enough to do that?”
The Moment I realized I Defeated the Narcissist at His Own Game
I’ve been to court so many times over the past 10 months, that I can’t keep track at this point. Between restraining order hearings, continuances for my ex boyfriends domestic violence hearings (I was never informed of any date changes until after I used countless vacation days, showed up to court, waited around, only to learn that the hearing had been continued and no one notified me… I’ll get into my feelings around victims rights in another post), his plea, and sentencing, etc., I now know more about the court system than I ever wished to. The guards and judges recognize me in two different courts now, in two different states and always remember me.
I recently got a new job, and as advised by the domestic violence police officer in my town, I modified my Abuse Prevention Order to include the address on it (impounded… meaning my ex boyfriend can’t see the address. Not even the judge can see that information). If you’re not as familiar with the court system, let me explain that this is a process. You don’t just walk in and update the address. You have to file a motion and then go in front of a judge for a hearing in 10 days (at least in my state… it may be different in other states). This meant that my ex boyfriend was notified of the hearing and had the right to show up and object to this address change – which of course, he did (I didn’t expect him to since his attorney advised him against showing up to any restraining order hearings since he “didn’t stand a chance.” Quite frankly, he didn’t stand a chance. I had arrest reports, conviction records, police as witnesses… but anyway, he showed up).
My heart sunk when the guard was reading off our names and I heard “HERE” after they said his name. But I had to snap out of it for just a few hours in court. Of course, this isn’t something you just “snap out of.” I know this. I mean just temporarily, as it’s different when the courts are involved. You really can’t show emotion (unless it’s crying. They don’t get too annoyed about that).
Anyway, he showed up with guns blazing. Keep in mind: This hearing was ONLY about modifying my work address. NOTHING else. If it were to be about anything else, a separate motion would need to be filed. When I explained the change of work situation to the judge with my ex boyfriend standing next to me, with a guard in between us of course, I tried not to sound scared or intimated, although I was shaking. I did everything in my power to sound like a confident young woman who regained control of her life (I haven’t, but I wasn’t going to let him know that). Once the judge was done asking me questions about my work situation she turned to my ex and asked him if he objected to my address change… I mean, why else would he be present at this hearing?
My ex boyfriend responded by saying he didn’t object to the address change, but he wanted to terminate the order. He even had the form to file a motion to terminate the Abuse Prevention Order filled out and pulled it out of his folder! He said his attorney advised him to do that. That’s not how this works though, and if you’ve unfortunately been to court countless times you know this. You need to file a motion for that, not just show up at my hearing to modify my work address. But hey, he’s a narcissist, why should he have to go out of his way to follow the rules? Anyway, after the judge told him that’s not how this works and he needed to file a motion for that, she let him ramble on and on about how he’s the victim and he had to change his phone number and get a new car because of me… ALL lies. My ex abuser put on such a good show that I started to believe what he was saying, until I realized I was the real victim here and these things clearly weren’t true. I would know! That’s control for ya. Even though letting him hijack my hearing to speak certainly re-victimized me, I’m glad the judge let him.
As he was speaking (lying), I realized he was in so far over his head that he was defeated. I had never held such control throughout the 2+ years we were together. Actually, I never held any control. This wasn’t my intention obviously, but there he was, standing in front of a judge, telling any lie he could to make himself look like the poor victim. One of the things he told the judge was I keep “making him go to court,” which is untrue. He was arrested three times for domestic violence all within a few months, so yes, in that case you do have to “go to court,” however, the state was charging him, not me. That was out of my hands. In fact, he was the one who initially called the police on me and started to dig his own grave from there. Trust me, I didn’t have to help him bury himself from that point on.
As I stood there consuming his words (or should I say lies), I heard a “man” trying to claw his way out of the impossible. And something came over me. I didn’t care that I wasn’t allowed to speak. Although I don’t advise this to anyone in the same situation, I knew the guard would excuse my behavior and just give me warnings, so I went for it. I started chiming in after my ex boyfriend finished stating each and every lie. He said he needed the order terminated because it was impacting his life and he couldn’t do certain things. I simply reminded the judge that he was convicted of two counts of DV stalking (unfortunately this is between two states and they only pulled his record in my state… the charges, convictions, and case are out of his state… we live on the boarder of our respective states). He also said I wouldn’t stop contacting him (so infuriating) so he had to change his phone number. This is not true. In fact, without getting into too many details since the case is ongoing, he’s very likely facing jail time for violating probation, so clearly that’s a lie as well, which I explained to the judge. I had my subpoena with me just in case. The judge and guard at this point were getting annoyed with me, but I wasn’t going to let my ex play victim any longer. If you want to get technical, I’M the victim (I hate referring to myself as a victim, but I’m getting technical). I stood up for myself and EVERYTHING he said I pretty much responded with NO, YOU’RE LYING AND HERE’S WHY (not in those exact words). It was like the control in the relationship shifted. I beat a narcissist at his own game.
The judge interrupted the last point I made, which I think was about him most likely going to jail. She said she was granting my modification and to go downstairs and wait for the new restraining order to be ready. I thanked her, picked up my bag, and didn’t look back. But on my way out I heard her tell my ex he was to stay put in that courtroom until the guard told him it was ok to go downstairs to get his copy of the order. I could hear him talk back to her on my way out, saying, “YA OK, I’M GOING TO SIT AND WAIT” in a raised voice. Not once did he argue me back in front of the judge when I stated the truth. He was done. Disengaged (finally). Defeated. He didn’t even file the motion to terminate the restraining order on his way out of court, even though he had it filled out. I’m still confused about that, but maybe he realizes he doesn’t stand a chance.
Though the hearing was a blur, I do remember it taking two hours for us to be called. I had to sit in a room with him for over two hours (with only about seven other people in the room). Talk about trauma. I hadn’t seen him in months and it was weird sitting apart and not speaking to one another. It was strange not jumping into his arms and giving him a huge hug. It was difficult not telling him about all of the changes in my life that took place over the past few months and all of the things I’ve gone to tell him on a daily basis until I realized I couldn’t. It was a feeling I never want to experience again. It was all around extremely heart breaking for me. You know what? It’s like mourning a person who is actually still alive. I can’t explain it, but you get it if you’re going through it or have gone through it.
I guess throughout this entire process, starting from when he first got arrested last June for domestic violence; simple assault, all the way to now, I was slowly defeating him without even knowing it. If you’re in a similar situation, my advice to you is to keep fighting for yourself because no one is going to do it for you. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do, and some days I regret that we’re in this situation. But domestic violence (and narcissistic abuse) only escalates. It doesn’t get better unless your abuser wants to get help, which isn’t likely. It’s about power and control. It’s dangerous.